In the contemporary era, amidst the increasing pollution and the spike in diseases, many people have started turning their attention towards adopting a healthy lifestyle enriched with wholesome nutrients. Awareness of the types of nutrients and minerals becomes a larger factor here, as basically, you are what you eat.

Nowadays, people have started incorporating healthy breads in their breakfast which creates balance in taste and even in health. However, with a surge in different types of breads, two of them have predominantly occupied the market. These are whole grain and whole wheat breads.

Turning your workaday lifestyle into a healthy one completely asks for the difference between the two and which one is the healthier option. Therefore, let’s delve into the difference between whole grain and whole wheat.

What are grains?

Grains are one of the most common and staple food items included in everyone’s diet. They are a great source of complex carbohydrates and proteins, which boost you with energy that sustains throughout the day.

Whole Grain And Whole Wheat
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Grains are basically the seeds of the grass you see which are eventually cultivated and harvested for eating. A whole grain, however, is basically consisting of three elements which are also known as caryopsis:

  • Bran: 

This is the outer layer of the grain, which contains some nutritious fibers, minerals and Vitamin B.

  • Germ: 

The germ is the core providing nourishment to the seed, containing some essential nutrients, minerals, oils, proteins, healthy fats and antioxidants.

  • Endosperm: 

White flours are composed of this part of the seed as it is the largest of all. It contains starch and provides carbohydrates and proteins.

These fibers and minerals help you in weight management, as they make you feel full for a longer period of time.

Grains are available in different types therefore the specific nutrient, mineral or vitamin consumption depends upon the type of grain you eat per day. Therefore, in order to simplify it and enhance your nutrient consumption, grains can be differentiated into three main grain groups.

The Main Grain Groups:

1. Refined Grains:

 Refined grains are the type of grains which have their outer layer bran and the nourishing core germ removed. This is done in order to increase the shelf life of the grains and also to give a smooth texture to the grains.

 Be that as it may, with bran and germ portions removed and alteration in the shape of the grain, a majority of the nutrients and minerals are stripped from it which significantly reduces its health benefits.

2. Enriched grains:

As refined grains are stripped off of a majority of essential nutrients and minerals, enriched grains add back the lost nutrients and create a hybrid of refined grain type. The vitamin added in the enriched grains is vitamin B.

3. Whole Grains:

As the name suggests, whole grains are basically the type of grains consisting of all the three elements that are, bran, germ and endosperm. As they have all the three parts included in them, with their nutrients, proteins and fibers, they are considered to be the most nutritious out of the lot

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Whole grains are believed to be great sources of iron, folate, selenium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B. In the coterie of whole grains, you have brown rice, freekeh (an Arabic low carb grain which has more fibre than brown rice), buckwheat and whole oats. Out of this lot, whole wheat is also considered to be the part of whole grains. As one is a subset to another, what is the difference between whole wheat and whole grain?

What is the difference between Whole Grain and Whole Wheat?

As it was earlier mentioned, whole grains have all the three essential elements included in them: the bran, germ and endosperms. Therefore, it can also be inferred that whole wheat also has these three elements included in them, but the preliminary difference lies in the type of seed used in both the grains.

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When the term whole wheat is used in any food products like bread, it is realized that this particular bread has been made from only a specific wheat kernel and no other types of grains have been included here.

On the contrary, if you see any food product labelled as whole grain, it can be inferred that a mixture of grains has been used in this product. Through this differentiation, we can deduce that whole wheat is a part of whole grains and not all whole grains are a part of whole wheat, as they are also inclusive of barley, rye, corn, etc.  

Which one is healthier?

Whole grains and whole wheat are considered to be equally healthy and nutritious. In comparison to refined grains which have the bran and germ removed, a majority of nutrients are removed. Therefore, take any whole grain, be it amaranth, barleycorn, millet, quinoa, rice, rye, sorghum, teff, triticale and even wheat, will be healthier than refined or enriched grains.

What about multigrain?

Apart from whole grains and whole wheat, people also lookout for the third category of grains in most of the food products and that is, multigrain. Although its name suggests a food product to be healthy, it does not necessarily have to be healthy.

Whole Grain And Whole Wheat

Multigrain basically means more than one grain is involved in the food. However, if nothing else is specified in the label, then there are chances that those might be refined grains. Now, if they are refined grains, then you might not be able to receive sufficient amounts of fibers or nutrients from it. 

Therefore, it is essential to check the food label before buying any food product, especially if you want to adopt an extremely healthy and fit lifestyle. Be that as it may, many people confirm that even if the food label says, ‘made with whole grains’, only minuscule amounts of food grains would have been used.

Whole grains and whole wheat have been an integral part of our staple diet and will perhaps continue for a long time. 

Therefore, in today’s world, it has become extremely essential to know what you are eating and the benefits that they ensue.